by Richard A. Steeves


This book has been incubating in my mind since 1958, when I spent a summer surveying aquatic insects and fish for the government of Ontario. During that summer the stoneflies, mayflies and caddisflies of Southern Ontario streams caught my imagination so much that I wondered about how the world might look through their eyes. They were such interesting-looking creatures that I began to create different personalities to fit each intriguing set of features. Later I started to imagine that these characters were speaking to one another, amplifying their personalities as they struggled to deal with life's challenges.

However, I was far too busy as a medical student to write their story that autumn. The following summer I learned to fly in a seaplane while working near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Again, I thought of my insect "friends" as they matured into adults and began to fly. Could they feel any of the wild joy that I felt, gliding over marshes and along river banks? How could humans be so sure that insect behavior was driven only by instinct? Did humans suffer from smug, self-assured myopia in thinking they were the only species capable of rational thought?

My friends incubated in my mind for another 36 years, finally coming to life on these pages. Although their story is technically science fiction, it is not futuristic, and I have taken few liberties with their true natural history. Their story will interest anyone who is willing to look at the world from a different perspective, and especially someone who likes to swim and fly.

Richard A. Steeves, M.D., Ph.D.
Madison, Wisconsin
July 1995


I thank my wife, Elyane, for her encouragement and suggestions during the preparation of this manuscript. I also thank Karla Ritter and Deborah Stonehocker for providing helpful information on the natural history of aquatic insects. The cover photograph and design were kindly provided by Kate Miller.

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